NHL: Tom Wilson hit with 20 game suspension

 

The NHL Department of Player Safety on Wednesday suspended Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson for 20 games. The League had given Wilson chance after chance to chance and it reached the point where they had to deliver a significant suspension and they sure did. This is now four suspensions in his last 105 games and just the 16th game since Wilson was suspended for an illegal in the second round of the 2018 playoffs when he broke Zach Aston-Reese’s jaw. The NHLDPS called Wilson’s constant suspensions an “unprecedented frequency” of suspensions in the history of the NHL Player Department of Safety.

NHL: Why the Capitals are 2 wins away from reaching Stanley Cup Final

 

Are things finally setting up as ‘This being the year’ for the Washington Capitals? The Capitals with a 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals have stormed out to a 2-0 series lead. Washington taking both games in dominant fashion on the road has been even more impressive in doing it without second-line center Nicklas Backstrom. This was supposed to be a series where the faster, more skilled Lightning team would prove to be too much for the Capitals. Instead Washington is beating Tampa Bay at their own game. The Capitals are excelling at the more skilled game and they’re playing faster than Tampa Bay, something many did not see coming in. Washington has outscored Tampa Bay 7-2 during 5-on-5 play in the Eastern Conference Finals. Still a ways to go but the Capitals are finally showing all the ingredients of aRead More »

Day after signing Justin Williams to a bargain deal, Capitals trade for T.J. Oshie

 

The Metropolitan Division is already shaping up as one of the most competitive divisions in hockey and this week it’s been the division of big moves. First with the Blue Jackets acquisition of Brandon Saad, to Pittsburgh trading for Phil Kessel, and the Capitals in a 24-hour span, took a big step towards bolstering their top-6. The Capitals last night signed Justin Williams to a 2 year deal worth just $6.5 million, an excellent bargain in getting Williams at just two years, and moments ago the Capitals acquired T.J. Oshie in a trade with St. Louis. The Blues receive forwards Troy Brouwer and Pheonix Copley and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. “T.J. is an outstanding skater with a tremendous skill set,” Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said in a statement. “He is a powerful player and has consistent track record of production throughout his career in the NHL.Read More »

Takeaways & Observations: Penguins dictate terms of play in most complete game of season vs Caps

 

PITTSBURGH 4 – WASHINGTON 0 The Pittsburgh Penguins (14-8-0, 28 pts) put together their most complete game of the season and it was a 60-minute clinic by the Penguins against a quality Washington Capitals (12-9-1, 25 pts)  team. Just a tremendous overall performance by the Penguins securing a 4-0 win. “Certainly the pace and how we played was excellent,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said afterwards. “We got some real good scoring opportunities.” Paul Martin (2), Beau Bennett (1), Sidney Crosby (11) and James Neal (2) scored for the Penguins in the win. Crosby had a tic-tac-toe power play goal and added an assist giving him 28 points on the season. Evgeni Malkin had 2 helpers to give him 12 assists in his last nine games. Malkin has now gone 15 games without a goal but again played a very effective game and was 6 of 9 in the faceoff circle. Marc AndreRead More »

How bad is the Metropolitan Division?

 

If there’s one early observation to make it’s that the Western Conference is a significantly better conference than the Eastern Conference. Going into today’s action, Western Conference teams are 26-6-3 vs the East. In the East, the Atlantic Division has emerged as a much stronger division than the Metropolitan Division. Projected as a competitive division, the Metro has the look of easily being the worst division in hockey and it’s not even close. The joke going around is that the Penguins will have the division title wrapped up before the Olympic Break. The Penguins lead the way off to a 4-1-0, 8 pts, start, with Carolina (2-2-2, 6 pts), New York Islanders (2-2-1, 5 pts), Columbus Blue Jackets (2-2-0, 4 pts) all playing okay hockey. Does anyone out of that group stand much of a chance to compete with the Penguins for a division title? Likely not, but when theRead More »

Could Ovechkin overtake Injured Crosby for Hart Trophy?

 

The Washington Capitals continue their surge in the standings, defeating the Tampa Bay 4-2 tonight and the Capitals after a horrific start have emerged as the favorites to win the Southeast division and earn the No.3 seed in the Eastern Conference. It’s a stunning turnaround for the Capitals who looked like a mess the first 8 weeks of the season and now a team that could get a favorable first round playoff  matchup and make some noise. The biggest storyline in Washington is the re-emergence of Alexander Ovechkin into an elite player and Ovechkin showing signs of being back to his old form is good for hockey.

Penguins again show why they might be the most dangerous team in the NHL

 

ON THE PENGUINS Matt Niskanen’s third period goal to break a 1-1 tie following a Matt Cooke four minute minor, lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins (23-8-0, 46pts) to a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals (12-6-1, 25 pts) on Tuesday night at the Consol Energy Center. The win extended the Penguins winning streak to 10 games as the Penguins continue to climb in the standings, ranking 1st in the Eastern Conference with 46 points and boasting the second best record (tied with Anaheim) in the NHL. Pittsburgh trails the league leading Chicago Blackhawks by just five points as the Penguins might give the Hawks a run for the Presidents trophy with 17 games left. What the Penguins showed again Tuesday night is how dangerous they are in that you can outplay them for forty minutes but they find ways to put the game away with a momentum changing goal. Killing offRead More »

Scouts Buzz on Capitals Potential Rental Players: Hendricks, Fehr would address needs for Penguins

 

The trade deadline is 19 days away but the market for rental players has yet to develop as so many teams remain in the playoff hunt. GM’s are not yet ready to sell off potential UFA’s for draft picks and over the next week I’ll be looking at the few teams who right now project as potential sellers at the trade deadline in regards to players of interest for the Penguins or potential fits in Pittsburgh from scouts polled. Today I look at the Washington Capitals: Capitals Trade Deadline Buzz: The Washington Capitals (11-14-1, 23 pts) enter today’s action 12th in the Eastern Conference, seven points out of a playoff spot and eight points out of first place in the Southeast division. A 2-9 start has put them in a rut, and while the Capitals are 6-4 in their last 10 games, Washington has lost three of four games andRead More »

Caps @ Penguins Game Day Buzz: Letang iffy? Player reactions on Ovechkin; Has Orpik changed his game?

 

WASHINGTON CAPITALS (2-7-1, 5 PTS) @ PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (7-3-0, 14 PTS) POST-MORNING SKATE BUZZ Is Kris Letang’s status for tonight up in the air? Letang left the morning skate early after the Penguins power play session and head coach Dan Bylsma was very coy about whether Letang will play. Letang, though, looked fine on the ice this morning but he obviously has something bothering him. If Letang is a no-go, Dylan Reese will enter the lineup. “{He’s} a guy whose played quite a few NHL games,” Bylsma said. “Skating defenseman and can play a lot of different spots. He’s not a real big guy but is a gritty player with his speed and how he plays the game,” Bylsma said. Bylsma claimed Reese could also see time on “second power play” when he gets in the lineup. WBS teammate (1st part of season) Robert Bortuzzo on Reese. “Good puck mover,”Read More »

NHL Playoffs: Capitals upset defending champs, advance to 2nd round on Joel Ward’s OT winner

 

The Washington Capitals beat the defending Cup champions Boston Bruins as Joel Ward scored in overtime of Game 7 giving Washington a thrilling 2-1 win. The Capitals punched their ticket to the second round joining the Philadelphia Flyers in the East. Two Game 7’s on Thursday night involve the 1. New York Rangers – 8. Ottawa Senators and 3. Florida Panthers – 6. New Jersey Devils. All seven games during the Bruins – Capitals series were one goal games, setting a playoff record. The star of the series was Capitals 22 year old netminder Braden Holtby who has come out of nowwhere to solidify the Capitals goaltending position. Under head coach Dale Hunter, Washington has evolved into a defensive minded team, which has led to Alexander Ovechkin seeing less ice time than he did under Bruce Boudreau.